Strictly Come Dancing 2018: Six talking points from week two

Couples receive mixed reviews as competition heats up

Emma Bullimore
Sunday 30 September 2018 00:56
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Seann Walsh & Katya Jones Jive to 'I’m Still Standing' on Strictly 2018

It was the first competitive night of the series and the Strictly Come Dancing judges were feeling particularly brutal. You can only imagine the producers’ faces as they watched Craig and co annihilate one dance after the other, failing to find anything to get excited about.

It picked up after the first few numbers though, and Danny, Faye, Joe and Ashley all got rave reviews. They loved Kate’s sultry tango with Aljaz too.

The relief got to Tess and she started laughing uncontrollably at one of Claudia’s only mildly amusing jokes, which was a bit awkward. Oh and Rob Beckett read out the Ts and Cs while Bruno managed another reference to Bodyguard. (When will he move onto Killing Eve like the rest of us? Maybe Halloween week?).

Here’s what everyone is talking about as they await tomorrow night’s results…

It was a mixed night for jives

Joe Sugg is really having a moment. Sure, he’s been a YouTube sensation for some time, but now the mainstream are falling in love with him too. Everyone adores him, even though he’s dancing to "Cotton Eye Joe", dressed a roof thatcher – superstardom beckons.

His jive really hit the spot tonight, but Seann and Katya’s failed to impress. They weren’t in time to the music and panic set in. It didn’t help that they danced to Elton John’s I’m Still Standing, the music used for Jill Halfpenny’s iconic glitterball-clinching routine in series two, which is still being talked about more than a decade later. Surely Katya should have known better. Still, the judging gave Shirley and Seann a chance to make up, as she now likes his hair. Which is a relief for all of us.

Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden gt rave reviews.

Faye and Ashley are still unbeatable…

But Danny is hot on their heels. Faye and Giovanni’s Viennese Waltz will have alienated viewers who like a traditional approach – it was really an Argentine tango piece of storytelling trapped within a waltz. Of course it was beautifully executed though, and the judges loved it. Ashley’s silver tassled cha cha to "Boogie Wonderland" was an instant crowd-pleaser and allowed her to claim the top spot on the leaderboard, relegating Faye to number two. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a two-horse race – Danny is absolutely killing it. He’s feeling all those rehearsals in his feet and legs, but out on the dance floor he looks fabulous. One to watch.

There was yet another wardrobe malfunction

Vicky Gill and her team do an incredible job in the Strictly costume department, but every serues nightmares still happen. Janette Manrara is a salsa specialist and Dr Ranj is a brilliant student, so their routine should have been a highlight. But disaster struck when part of Janette’s dress got stuck on the heel of her shoe, restricting her movement for a good 20 seconds. Dr Ranj must have been secretly horrified but, props to him, you couldn’t see it on his face. He did a brilliant job, to much acclaim from the judges, but you can’t help feeling it could have been better. Shame.

Janette Manrara's dress got stuck on the heel of her shoe as she danced with Dr Ranj Singh.

Lauren’s death-defying lift

Lauren has spoken very openly about two things so far this series. One: how she wants to inspire other girls with disabilities to feel that they can dance. Two: that she’s a competitive athlete by trade and wants to win. It was probably a heady mix of these two considerations that made her agree to sit on AJ’s shoulders during their Charleston and then fall face forward towards the floor with only one hand to catch herself. It really was a wow moment. If only the rest of the routine had been as exhilarating…

Who will go home?

Susannah and Anton finished at the bottom of the leaderboard, with Graeme and Oti, Seann and Katya and Katie and Gorka just above them. Tomorrow night we’ll face the first dance-off of the series (which seemed to come as a shock to Dr Ranj, like a child discovering Santa Claus isn’t real) and two couples will be fighting to make it through to Movie Week next time. Anton has his own very loyal army of fans, so don’t expect to see him waving goodbye tomorrow. It’s the couples in that dangerous mid-leaderboard position that should be worried. Vick and Graziano, I’m looking at you.

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